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The healthcare industry is booming. In the last 40 years, it has undergone tremendous growth. While it used to be only 8% of our GDP, it is over 18% of the nation’s GDP today – larger than the entire economies of every other country except China, Japan, and Germany, according to the Kellogg School of Management.

The number of Americans ages 65 and older will increase from 58 million in 2023 to 82 million by 2050 (a 47% increase), and the 65-and-older age group is projected to rise from 17% to 23%. They need healthcare.

The population in whole continues to grow. As of January 17, 2024, it was 340,990,003, an increase of 1.6 million people from last year. They need healthcare.

This does not include all the illegal aliens who have been pouring over the border in the last three years – estimated to be around 13 million. They need healthcare.

And shockingly, the Pew Research Center predicts the population of the United States is expected to reach 423 million by 2050.  That’s an 82% growth from 2005 to 2050 – mostly due to new immigrants and their descendants. They’re going to need healthcare.

Adding to all of this, the chances of another COVID pandemic is very likely. Having faced no meaningful repercussions over COVID-19, China is developing another coronavirus variant called GX_P2V or “Disease X” that will be even more lethal than the original pathogen. If this reaches our shore, you bet we’re going to need healthcare.

Shortage Of Doctors and Nurses

Problem is, there is a dire shortage of healthcare workers — physicians, surgeons, nurses, assistants, technicians, therapists, and more – right now.

“The physician shortage that we have long feared is here. It’s an urgent crisis hitting every corner of this country—urban, rural—with the most direct impact hitting families with high needs and limited means,” says Dr. Jesse Ehrenfeld, president of the American Medical Association. “Imagine walking into an emergency room in a moment of crisis and finding no one there to take care of you. That’s what we are up against.”

Enter AI

AI is already being used in healthcare today for data analysis, disease diagnosis and treatment, and more. AI technology will be used to enhance processes and workflows and assist with massive files of patient data that exist in healthcare organizations. Plus, AI has the potential to substantially improve a patient’s welfare and reduce costs and administrative burdens.

Will AI Replace Doctors?

The year is 2040. You walk into an urgent care clinic sick as a dog, and a chatbot asks you to describe your symptoms. The computer takes down your information, retrieves details from your past electronic health records, and recommends diagnostic tests for a human technician to perform. After getting the test results, an AI system prescribes a medication to treat your condition.

This futuristic scenario, brought to you by Theator, is an example of how AI might become part of healthcare. AI programs are already being developed to read medical scans and tissue samples to determine if a patient has a disease. Future software could analyze patterns across thousands of health records to pinpoint the most effective treatment for a particular patient—for instance, which cancer therapy might work best given their genetic makeup.

AI won’t replace the human touch – once a foundation of healthcare. But with all the evidence we just presented- population growth, shortage of healthcare workers, new plagues, and pandemics, you may have to settle for an AI robot to give you that “human touch” instead of a real person.